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Tennessee judge allows expanded vote-by-mail during COVID-19

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Posted at 8:27 PM, Jun 04, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-05 21:40:57-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — A Tennessee judge has ruled that absentee ballots will be allowed for any voter who wants one during the Coronavirus pandemic.

The judge made the ruling Thursday night, saying "...the State‘s justifications, for not providing an expansion of voting by mail during the pandemic, are not reasonable, necessary and/or do not exist."

The order goes on to say that the "...State‘s restrictive interpretation and application of Tennessee‘s voting by mail law...during the unique circumstances of the pandemic, constitutes an unreasonable burden on the fundamental right to vote guaranteed by the Tennessee Constitution."

State elections officials argued in Chancery Court Tuesday that if vote-by-mail is expanded throughout thousands of voters would likely have their votes thrown out; the state says voters would be confused by ballot instructions and potentially make a mistake that would invalidate their ballot, without an in-person poll worker to help them.

The decision will have to be upheld by a conservative appeals court and state Supreme Court.